Prague, May 29 (CTK) – Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka, primate of the Czech Catholic Church, has expressed understanding for the activists protesting against the Saturday performance of Our Violence and Your Violence play in Brno, in which Jesus rapes a Muslim woman, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes today.
No other Czech church dignitary has raised his voice as strongly in the case as Cardinal Duka, LN adds.
“I perceive with gratitude several thousand people who stood up against the staging of this blasphemous play in Brno. I welcome that some people dared to act – they challenged the play in court and demanded its withdrawal from the theatre programme,” Duka wrote on Facebook.
He points out that some people even expressed their disagreement with the scandalous content during the performance, though this caused them troubles.
On the other hand, representatives of Muslims in the Czech Republic said they would welcome a softer form of protests.
The performance, directed by Croat Oliver Frljic and staged by the Croat National Theatre in Rijeka and the Slovenian Mladinsko Theatre in Ljubljana, was the most closely watched programme of the Theatre World festival in Brno.
The long protests against the play culminated with some 30 members of the Decent People radical rightist movement interrupting the performance in the Husa na provazku theatre in Brno in protest against the play until a police anti-conflict team made them leave.
Though the police assessed the radicals’ protest as a misdemeanour, senator Eliska Wagnerova filed a legal complaint against their conduct on suspicion of rioting.
However, it is not clear whether Duka in his comment directly sides with the act by the activists whom the Interior Ministry called extremists.
Duka considers his reaction on Facebook sufficient, Prague Archbishopric spokesman Stanislav Zeman told LN without elaborating.
Duka previously criticised the play, saying it abused of the freedom of speech. He also said this concept offended not only Christians, but also Muslims and all Czechs.
Benedikt Mohelnik, deputy dean of the Catholic Theological Faculty, said he considered the protest on the stage a legitimate act in a democratic society.
On the contrary, Catholic literary historian Martin C. Putna views the radicals’ behaviour in the theatre strongly inappropriate. He calls them fascists defending Christian values.
Muneeb Alrawi, chairman of the Centre of Muslim Communities in the Czech Republic, said he can understand calm protest, for instance, writing an article, but that he was opposed to physical violence on the stage. “This should not have happened,” he told LN.
However, as a Muslim who respects Jesus Christ as one of the prophets, he feels offended by the play’s content, he said.